iBooks 2 Is ‘A Huge Missed Opportunity’, Publisher’s Developer Says

Steve Jobs shows off the iPad's iBookstore

Apple’s new big play for the education textbook market is a big letdown, according to a developer for one of the leading interactive kids’ education books publishers.

“iBooks 2 looks very interesting from a commercial point of view. From a creative point of view, it’s very, very, very disappointing,” said Alex Morrison, managing director of Cogapp, developer for Dorling Kindersley’s Eyewitness travel guides and other iOS apps.

Why? “Because it’s just eye candy. The capacity for the user to interact is so limited. The degree of feedback about consumption of our content is so limited.”

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) last week signalled its intention to tap in to a multi-billion dollar education sector it sees as lacklustre with a new iBooks 2 software distribution channel and a new iBooks Author creation tool. Morrison was speaking at a UK Association of Online Publishers’ forum about tablet publishing strategy in London on Wednesday.

“It’s a good way of producing a very glossy app,” he told an audience. “But it’s a huge missed opportunity. Maybe it’s a good first step. But I’d be be very worried that Apple thinks they’ve done it now.

“At the moment, there’s no way to automate the process of getting products in there. It looks like Apple has put it out there quickly, probably as a defensive move. At the moment, my lab is looking at ways of getting products in through the back door.”

Morrison’s Cogapp is also an interactive producer for the Good Schools Guide International, The National Archives and Apple UK.

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